Early on Tuesday, Twitter unveiled its long-expected paid advertising program, calling it “Promoted Tweets”. Messages from advertisers will be put into users’ twitter streams with initial advertisers including Bravo, Starbucks and Virgin America – all of which have already been using Twitter to promote their brands. Twitter has been edging closer to being a mainstream internet business and the obvious question has been how it plans on making money. Although Twitter’s founders have hinted at a few ideas, nothing concrete has yet been forthcoming. However it is to no one’s surprise that paid-for Tweets at the top of search results – a rather familiar idea – is picked as Twitter’s main business model.
The company claims this effort to be a new “non-traditional” approach to advertising but search ads are nothing new. According to a FAQ on the Twitter blog “We strongly believe that Promoted Tweets should be useful to you…” and “… [we will] stop showing Promoted Tweets that don’t resonate”. This reflects Facebook’s advertising platform where users can vote ads up or down on the site, an attempt to give users some sort of control over what they see, given that whichever brand appears is purely down to monetizing screen real estate.
Twitter says it will give further information on the plans for an ad service at the company’s first developer conference that opens tomorrow in San Francisco. Over $160 million in venture capital has been spent on the company and investors are no doubt eager to see profits as the user-focused website try to find a way to make money while keeping users content.